Italy’s Greatest Wines for A Magnifico Wine Cellar

In previous postings, I formulated two proposed personal wine cellars consisting entirely of Italian wines, one costing $1,000 and the other $5,000. Despite these relatively modest dollar amounts, it is possible to stock a cellar with a goodly number of some really interesting, value-oriented Italian wines.

This includes not only everyday wines for informal family dinners and get-togethers but also special occasion wines you can serve with pride to discerning dinner guests, all without breaking the bank. Given the budgetary constraints, the wines were selected on the basis of both value and quality and demonstrated once again that when it comes to Italian wines you don’t have to be a big spender in order to drink well.

Now let’s up the ante considerably. Suppose you have virtually unlimited discretionary income and want to stock your wine cellar with only the best Italian wines. Here the Wines on rackemphasis is solely on quality and price is not a constraint – you want the best of the best Italian wines. Since there are no price constraints, this kind of over-the-top wine cellar is only for serious collectors with a lot of discretionary income - such as hedge-fund managers and bailed-out bank presidents. The rest of us mere mortals can just look on with awe and more than a little envy.

Since there are a lot of really good wines in Italy from which to choose, I arbitrarily limited the number of wines to 35 in total. Therefore, what I have selected are what I consider the thirty-five best Italian wines. The competition for a spot in the top 35 Italian wines is tough. These are the wines that have made the greatest impressions on me at tastings and that consistently, year after year, garner high praise from international wine critics and wine rating organizations as well as consumers.

With few exceptions, the wines selected are ready to drink now but almost all, and most certainly the red wines, will improve over time with some additional bottle age.  While the following table indicates a specific vintage for pricing purposes, specific vintages are not crucial. While the wines may evidence nuanced differences in character from year to year, they are consistently of high quality over time. If the vintners do not believe that the climatic conditions are conducive to producing a quality wine, they would probably sell the grapes rather than produce a substandard product.

As might be expected, there is considerable disparity in the regional distribution of wines selected. While half of Italy’s 20 regions are represented in the listing of Italy’s top 35 wines, over half of the wines selected are from only two regions – Tuscany and Piedmont. Primarily because of the inclusion of many super-Tuscan wines, Tuscany itself accounts for 40 percent of the top 35 wines.

As indicated below, at current prices one of each of the top 35 Italian wines will total $6,281. However, any serious collector would want more than one bottle of each - probably at least 6 bottles and more likely a case or two of each. Six bottles of each would cost $37,686 and a case would cost – well, you can do the math.

So here they are, my picks for thirty-five of Italy’s greatest wines – the best of the best Italian wines. They are listed alphabetically by wine.


Italy's Greatest Wines For A "Magnifico" Wine Cellar
Wine  Producer Region Year Type     Price
Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Giuseppe Quintarelli Veneto 2000 Red  $   440
Amarone della Valpolicella Classico  Allegrini Veneto 2004 Red  $    80
Amarone della Valpolicella Vigneto di Monte Lodoletta Romano Dal Forno Veneto 2000 Red  $   450
Barbaresco Santo Stefano di Neive  Bruno Giacosa  Piedmont 2007 Red  $   175
Barolo Bartolo Mascarello Piedmont 2000 Red  $   120
Barolo Cannubi Boschis Sandrone Piedmont 2006 Red  $   150
Barolo Monfortino Giacomo Conterno Piedmont 2001 Red  $   370
Bolgheri Sassicaia Tenuta San Guido Tuscany 2006 Red  $   190
Brunello di Montalcino Riserva  Biondi-Santi  Tuscany 1999 Red  $   410
Camartina Querciabella Tuscany 2004 Red  $    86
Duca Enrico Duca di Salaparuta Sicily 2001 Red  $    60
Faro Palari Sicily 2000 Red  $    70
Flaccianello delle Pieve Tenuta Fontodi Tuscany 2005 Red  $    98
Franciacorta Gran Cuvee Brut Bellavista Lombardy 2004 Sparkling  $    65
Galatrona Petrolo Tuscany 2004 Red  $   125
Lange Nebbiolo Sori San Lorenzo Gaja Piedmont 2004 Red  $   350
Le Pergole Torte Montevertine Tuscany 2004 Red  $   110
Masseto Tenuta dell'Ornellaia Tuscany 1998 Red  $   750
Messorio Le Macchiole Tuscany 2005 Red  $   220
Montefalco Sagrantino 25 Anni Arnaldo-Caprai Umbria 2005 Red  $    85
Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Valentini Abruzzo 2006 Red  $   140
Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Villa Gemma Gianni Masciarelli Abruzzo 2004 Red  $    62
Montevetrano Montevetrano Campania 2004 Red  $    94
Ornellaia Tenuta Dell'Ornellaia Tuscany 2007 Red  $   175
Redigaffi Tua Rita Tuscany 2007 Red  $   220
Ribolla Gialla Gravner Friuli Venezia Giulia 2004 White  $    82
Solaia Marchesi Antinori  Tuscany 2006 Red  $   280
Terra di Lavoro Galardi Campania 2004 Red  $   105
Tignanello Antinori Tuscany 1997 Red  $   170
Trebbiano d'Abruzzo Valentini Abruzzo 2002 White  $    74
Turriga Argiolas Sardinia 2005 Red  $    75
Valtellina Sfursat 5 Stelle Nino Negri Lombardy 2006 Red  $    82
Vigna d'Alceo  Castello dei Rampolla Tuscany 2004 Red  $   195
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Asinone Poliziano Tuscany 2004 Red  $    65
Vintage Tunina Jermann Vinnaioli  Friuli Venezia Giulia 2007 White  $    58
   Total:          $6,281
   Average:          $  179


©Richard Marcis

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